U.S. News

Photos add bizarre twist to Tucson suspect's frantic last night

TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - In a frantic final night before the Tucson shooting rampage, police said suspect Jared Lee Loughner checked into a motel, bought bullets for his semi-automatic and picked up photographs reported to show him posing in a G-string with his Glock pistol.

Jared Lee Loughner in a photo released January 10, 2011. REUTERS/U.S. Marshals/Handout

Loughner is accused of spraying a crowd with a semi-automatic pistol outside a Safeway grocery store last Saturday, killing six people and wounding 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition at a Tucson hospital.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department, which arrested Loughner, released a timeline of his final hours Friday, detailing how he checked into a Motel 6, bought ammo, and a diaper style-backpack at a local Walmart store, after dropping off a roll of 35 mm film at a Walgreens drugstore to be developed.

He collected the film several hours later, shortly before 2:30 a.m. The New York Times reported it contained “multiple photos” of the 22-year-old college dropout posing with a Glock 9 mm pistol next to his naked buttocks and dressed in a bright red G-string.

FBI sources told Reuters they could neither confirm nor deny the report.

The sheriff’s department confirmed Friday that video from businesses near the shooting scene and the photographs are in FBI custody.

During the frantic last night, Loughner also shopped at two Circle K convenience stores and a Chevron gas station, all within a few miles of the scene of the shooting. He also posted a message on Myspace saying “Farewell friends.”

He later was verbally warned for running a stoplight at 7:30 a.m., before returning home where he took a black bag out of his car and argued with his father, before fleeing on foot.

At 9:41 a.m., he took a cab up to the Safeway store, entering with the driver to get change shortly before 10 a.m. Ten minutes later, he pumped bullet after bullet into the crowd at a congressional meeting with Giffords.

He was wrestled to the ground by bystanders. A sheriff’s deputy who detained him five minutes later found 30 rounds of ammunition, a knife and a plastic bag containing money in his pockets.

Pima County Sheriff’s spokesman Jason Ogan said that police who detained him at the scene searched his pockets and found two 15-round magazines of ammunition, a 4-inch buck knife, a plastic bag containing money, a Visa card and Loughner’s Arizona driver’s license.

Ogan said Deputy Georgina Patino found Loughner’s weapon on the ground and secured it before he was taken to a sheriff’s station for booking.

Loughner is charged with five federal counts, including the murder of a federal judge and the attempted assassination of Giffords, who was shot through the head.

Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Editing by Greg McCune